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Raheel Sharif should think before accepting Saudi Arabia offer: Pervez Musharraf

05 March, 2017

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DUBAI: Former military ruler General (r) Pervez Musharraf on Friday said General (r) Raheel Sharif should think before accepting Saudi Arabia's offer to lead the Islamic military alliance.

"Raheel Sharif served as the army chief of Pakistan and he should think over the issue," Musharraf said while responding to a question during an interview with a private TV channel. The question came amid reports that the former army chief had been appointed as the commander of the Saudi-led 39-nation military coalition.

Pakistan has a large Shia population and it should not get involved in such a serious sectarian matter, the former president maintained. "Pakistan should think 100 times before being involved in any sectarian issue," he said.

"One should consider the force, meet its commanders, see the targets and then decide whether such objectives can be achieved with this force," he added. "If the targets are impossible then one should not join it."

Musharraf denied that the new military leadership was not extending to him the same support General (r) Raheel Sharif did. When asked whether a lack of guarantee from the new military leadership was the reason why he was not returning to Pakistan, the former president said, "This military is mine and I am proud of it."

"I served in the army for 45 years and held its command. I fought several battles, including Kargil. The incumbent leadership was under my command. They were my students when I taught at the NDA. How can they forget me?" he responded.

In January, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif confirmed that General (r) Raheel Sharif had been appointed the chief of the Islamic Military Alliance. Days after he confirmed the appointment, Asif told the Senate that the former army chief had not obtained the government's clearance to take the position. Some retired military officers accused the government of launching a smear campaign against the former army chief.

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